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Old 11-19-2015, 12:39 PM   #1
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2007 25' International CCD FB
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"Prodigy" Brake Controller Blew Fuse on VW Touareg???

I am a newby and this is my first time posting. I am on the road soloing full time. I am stranded here at a campground in Texas until I can get this sorted out. I went to get my 2007 International 25FB inspected so that I could get it registered in Texas. I was surprised that the hazard lights and turn signals were working, but not the brake lights. I was told by the RV place that installed the Prodigy, that since I am on my own, as long as I check the hazards and turn signals before I depart each time, the brakes lights will be working too. It is very likely that I drove for five days from Chicago to Texas with no working brake controller. :-/

After much trouble shooting with the RV dealer that installed the Prodigy, and the VW dealer (both in Chicago) that installed my tow package, as well as the Texas mechanic who inspected it, I was able to surmise that the issue is most likely a blown inline fuse. After more research, I discovered that the battery for my 2012 VW Touareg is under the driver's seat, and in order to get to the battery for the inline fuse to be checked, three compartments have to be removed to get to it. The inline battery itself costs $100. The VW mechanic said it would cost $300 to replace the inline battery, plus more if they find other stuff wrong.

I know I will have to probably bite the bullet and pay the VW dealer. However, how can I be sure that the inline fuse won't blow again? VW said that this would not be covered on the warranty for the tow package they installed because the Prodigy is what caused the fuse to blow, although the Prodigy blowing the fuse is just a working theory that I have.

I assume it is a bad idea to go to any other repair shop other than VW. Is it safe to assume that I cannot travel safely until the brake controller is working properly? I invested so much money into getting started RVing full time, that I have little savings left, so I would welcome any advice! Thank you!
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Old 11-19-2015, 03:11 PM   #2
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How fo you know it isn't bad brake light bulbs?
How do you know the brake controller is not activating the brakes?
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Old 11-19-2015, 07:03 PM   #3
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I don't know that, but am on a limited budget this month. Do you think I should go to a mechanic that is cheaper than the VW service? I will definitely investigate that. Thanks!
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Old 11-19-2015, 07:44 PM   #4
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Volkswagens have a 5 wire system for controlling the lights on the car, and a converter to adapt to the 4 wire system on North American trailers. It is very possible there is a problem with the converter that sends the brake light signal through the system.
On the 5 wire system, the turn signal bulbs are wired separately from the brake light bulbs. On your trailer, the brake light bulbs double as turn signal bulbs.
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Old 11-19-2015, 07:46 PM   #5
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Hate to state the obvious but how about hooking up the trailer to the VW, finding an empty street close by, accelerate to 20mph or so and then reach down and briskly slide the manual sliding switch on the Prodigy as far as it will go.

If you slow down rather abruptly, find another mechanic (or RV shop) and have them fix the brake lights.

If there is no response to applying the manual switch, then you do indeed have a problem with the brake controller.

Step one then is check the Prodigy -- is it lit? Are there any indicators illuminated? Have any of the wires pulled loose?

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Old 11-19-2015, 08:05 PM   #6
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If the brake controller is working, you will know this in the first 2-3 FEET with the gain set at Max. No need to go on any roadway IMO. If your trailer is on a dirt or gravel campsite, the trailer wheels should lock up very easily.

PS one lesson learned will be that a cardinal rule of trailering is that you ALWAYS check your brake controller as the first item once the trailer is hooked up and moving. This is no time for should haves and could haves . . . But the folks who set you on the road without walking you through all this blew it IMO.

PS2 Yes it would be dangerous to go on the road without a functioning brake controller.
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Old 11-20-2015, 03:16 AM   #7
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Thank you so much for all of the replies! I will let you know the outcome.
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